Despite early cooling from La Nina, 2012 is on track to become one of the top 10 hottest years on record, with the U.S. experiencing extreme warmth and Arctic Sea ice shrinking to its lowest extent, the U.N. weather agency said Wednesday.
In a statement released at international climate talks in Qatar, the World Meteorological Organization said the “alarming rate” of the Arctic melt highlights the far-reaching changes caused by global warming.
“Climate change is taking place before our eyes and will continue to do so as a result of the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which have risen constantly and again reached new records,” - Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization
Delegates from nearly 200 countries are meeting in the Qatari capital of Doha to discuss ways of slowing climate change, including by cutting emissions of greenhouse gases that scientists say are warming the planet, melting ice caps, raising sea levels, and changing rainfall patterns with impacts on floods and droughts. Discord between rich and poor countries on who should do what has kept the two-decade-old U.N. talks from delivering on that goal, and global emissions are still going up.
The WMO said global temperatures rose after initial cooling caused by the La Nina weather oscillation, with major heat waves in the U.S. and Europe. Average temperatures in January-October were the highest on record in the continental U.S., and the ninth highest worldwide.
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